Ellen's Reviews > Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman
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's review
Aug 29, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: essays
Recommended to Ellen by: Dad
Read in September, 2008

Loved it! This book is full of funny stories about the famous physicist and his famously different way of looking at things. It's true that he came across as a bit arrogant at times, but it's also true that he is indeed more clever than most of the people that he meets, so perhaps he can be forgiven a little bit. I really enjoyed the story about math textbooks that he reviewed for the state of California. I appreciated his critique of math books that were written by people who don't understand math and its applications in science, especially in light of some highly questionable books and videos I've seen lately about the Korean language.

I also really enjoyed his story about how he faked being able to read blueprints during his time working on the Manhattan Project. He thought one of the symbols on the blueprints was a window, but then he realized it must be a valve. Since it was too late to ask about the symbols, he decided to fake it and point to one and ask "What happens if this valve fails?" Not only was his hunch about the symbol correct, it also turned out, by luck, that he pointed to a design flaw in the plans, and everyone thought he was especially smart.

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